Bears

Temper the enthusiasm (and expectations) for Lovie successor

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Temper the enthusiasm (and expectations) for Lovie successor

Nestled down at the very bottom of a ProFootballTalk news item is a bit of perspective that would be wise to keep in mind as the Bears go through their search process for a new head coach.

Mike Florio reported that Pete Carmichael Jr. is interviewing with the Bears. Carmichael is the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator, a significant post this season with coach Sean Payton suspended and has been since 2006 after stints with Cleveland, Washington and San Diego.

The immediate resume is borderline jaw-dropping: The Saints averaged 411 yards per game last season. Averaged. The Bears topped 400 just three times all year.

But heres Mikes note of note: Of course, it helps that Carmichael has had Drew Brees playing quarterback.

Beware the hot new guys

Various candidates will inspire differing degrees of euphoria in the media and general public. But apply Mikes qualifier to each one.

Mike McCoy, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator

McCoy is hot after his Mile-High results. But he is unlikely to be getting on the plane with Peyton Manning, and its worth recalling the training-camp and OTA footage of Manning directing the offense. Thats no slight of McCoy, who clearly was fine with one of the games greatest serving as at least a co-coordinator.

RELATED: Under new head coach, how much can change?

That McCoy and the Broncos got to the playoffs and won a game with Tim Tebow also is impressive. Remember, though, that the Broncos are home in January if Marion Barber does not go brain-dead twice in a couple minutes vs. the Bears. And the Broncos were the NFLs No. 1 rushing team, not passing. They were 23rd in yardage per game and 24th in scoring at 19.3 per game. Even with six games using Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown and four with no Matt Forte, the Bears last year were 24th in yardage but 17th in scoring.

Keith Armstrong, Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator

Joe DeCamillis, Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator

GM Phil Emery said on Tuesday that no one was excluded when asked whether Dave Toub was a candidate. Toub is arguably the NFLs best Teams coordinator but may have damaged any chances with his passionate support of Lovie Smith. The organization may not be seriously interested in someone who wanted someone it didnt.

Armstrong and DeCamillis are solid candidates. And Mike Ditka and John Harbaugh were special-teams coaches immediately before becoming first-time head coaches. But in the Gosselin composite rankings for special teams, the Bears ranked No. 4 in 2010 and No. 3 in 2011. The Falcons were10th and 23rd; the Cowboys were 20th and 21st.

Mike Sullivan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator

Sullivan has gotten something out of quarterback Josh Freeman, from a train wreck in 2011 to respectable this season. But Freeman threw nine interceptions over the final three games and Tampa Bay lost five of its last six, failing to score more than 23 points in any of the six and went from 6-4 to out of the playoffs.

The Bears didnt need to change coaches and offenses to achieve that kind of result. Freeman did rank one slot ahead of Jay Cutler, however, so Sullivan could help.

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

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USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”